Is Buddypress right for me and my project?
I’ve built a nice small business around vBulletin over the past 10 years. It’s a community site that thrives on user-generated content. And though I’ve had success building a site with that platform I’m not in love with the direction it’s gone – it doesn’t seem to have kept up with the trends of the modern community trends (at least, in my opinion). I think Forum sites will remain strong for a while but will eventually evolve, and I don’t know that vBulletin is going to be in the best position for that transition, which is why I would like to find a different platform to build the next community-driven project around.
Though I’m critical of vBulletin’s outdated approach to online communities, I’ll be the first to admit that the script has been very scalable and inviting to millions of users looking to connect with (and interact with) others who have a common interest or passion. My next project will need to be built on a platform that can scale at least as well as vBulletin. I can jump over to Google and find countless websites with thousands of online users based on vBulletin, I haven’t found a way to do that same exercise with BuddyPress. The other script I had been seriously considering was phpFox, but I’m growing a little leery about the code and its ability to scale. I just don’t want to get to the point where we’re getting a lot of concurrent users and find that we chose the wrong platform.
Here’s a list of requirements:
- Scalable, able to easily handle a few thousand users online at a time
- Not buggy, don’t want to spend a fortune fixing things that should work
- Easily modified, with lots of plugins and a big dev-for-hire network
- Has a ton of social media and community features out of the box
- Easy to build out different content types and expand upon existing features, like:
— More robust profile pages, with custom fields added by admin
— Sub-profile pages, like: User Profile > Vehicle Profile 1 > Vehicle Content (info, videos, photos, blogs, etc)
— Ability to plug in Facebook-like features
- Not bloated – unused features can be turned off or removed (something I didn’t like about vB)
- Easily optimized for search engines, especially the profiles
- Solid support community where we can get help when we get stuck
- Secure, obviously
Again, I’ve been very close to choosing phpFox, as it has most of the features and plugins we’d need right out of the gate, with very little custom work to do what we want. But the built-in SEO features appear to be a little lacking and trying to fix the issues seems to raise flags in the code structure, which brings up questions about the scalability and overall capabilities of the script when the plan is to have a large site with thousands of online users at one time.
My concerns about BuddyPress – it’s open source, which is risky to build a business around when you’re looking to customize it and add plugins. At least with a paid product you can get some level of support, but once you customize it, you lose out on that a bit. I’m also worried about it being based on a blogging script. A social media/community plugin for a blogging script seems like a risky move, compared to buying a script that is built specifically for a community site (like phpFox or vBulletin).
I know that asking this here will come with a BP slant, but that’s fine. I really want to find out more about the benefits of the script, why it would be a better choice than something like phpFox or vBulletin, and this is obviously the best place to get that.
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